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Texas cannabis legalization might alleviate the economic downturn brought by COVID-19

Texas foresees an economic downturn amounting to billions of dollars due to the shutdown brought by the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Many businesses across the State continue to close their doors, which directly impacts sales tax revenue as unemployment increases. 

Marijuana legalization offers a viable solution

However, state leaders suggest that marijuana legalization could lighten the economic burden. According to Heather Fazio, who is the director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy, the State could implement widespread cannabis legalization as an alternative.

When our state is facing an unprecedented economic downturn we have to look at alternatives, Fazio said.

Adding that marijuana legalization in Texas could generate up to $1 billion in extra sales tax revenue. The state could use this money to fund education, health, and human services.

Dr. Mike Sadler of UT Economist echoes the same sentiments, saying marijuana legalization in Texas could help the state create new jobs. All the same, Saddler says that’s not guaranteed and it varies from one state to another. He cited California as one state that has not been able to realize the revenue it expected from the cannabis industry.

It seems to be very much dependent on how you go about doing this and what taxes and regulations you put in place, Sadler said. 

Speaking to CBS Austin, Fazio revealed that the topic of marijuana legalization in Texas was under discussion among progressive and conservative lawmakers. This could lead to a renewed focus on the issue in the next legislative session, especially as lawmakers seek ways to cushion the country from the effects of the economic crisis brought by the Coronavirus shutdown.

Cannabis employees in high demand across the US

Meanwhile, some cannabis companies continue to staff up even as other sectors lay off their employees amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Marijuana companies that were financially stable before the pandemic are hiring more employees to counter the increased demand for their products.

Pot shops in the U.S. remain open in nearly all states that have legalized marijuana. As POLITICO reported earlier, in more than six states, weed companies “are adding thousands of workers despite the pandemic.” 

“We’ve seen a surge in demand all over the country. We’re seeing more patients become registered every day and we’re adding employees in just about every area of the business to meet the demand,” said Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi. 

Green Leaf Medical, Trulieve, and Cresco Labs are among the companies that added or plan to hire more employees.

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